Barbara Kingsolver – Teaching Herself Joy – over and over again
Recently, several people I know have been faced with terrible and heart wrenching news. Unfortunately, there is no formula or pat answer to deal with life’s catastrophes. Nor is there an arbitrary timeline to work with. We are all different and we bring different psychological, emotional and physical constraints to our life’s challenges and sorrows.
Yet, we do have examples of how certain people work to transform their pain and grief even when their life is in ruins.
I have found inspiration, relief and practical help by the example of Barbara Kingsolver, in her book High Tide in Tucson, which shows how such transformation is possible.
Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job or a limb or a loved one, a graduation, bringing a new baby home: it’s impossible to think at first how this all will be possible. Eventually, what moves it all forward is the subterranean ebb and flow of being alive among the living.
In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.
Note: When we are in the midst of fear and and uncertainty, it can be helpful to reach out for help from friends and family. Asking for help can take courage. Why? Probably because it shows our vulnerability. Yet, research shows that when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we up our chances to live a wholehearted and meaningful life. Thank you for reading my blog. I always love to hear from you. Trudy